People Target #11
William Claude Dukenfield was the eldest of five children born to Cockney immigrant James Dukenfield and Philadelphia native Kate Felton. He went to school for four years, then quit to work with his father selling vegetables from a horse cart. At eleven, after many fights with his alcoholic father (who hit him on the head with a shovel), he ran away from home. For a while he lived in a hole in the ground, depending on stolen food and clothing. He was often beaten and spent nights in jail. His first regular job was delivering ice. By age thirteen he was a skilled pool player and juggler. It was then, at an amusement park in Norristown PA, that he was first hired as an entertainer. There he developed the technique of pretending to lose the things he was juggling. In 1893 he was employed as a juggler at Fortescue's Pier, Atlantic City. When business was slow he pretended to drown in the ocean (management thought his fake rescue would draw customers). By nineteen he was billed as "The Distinguished Comedian" and began opening bank accounts in every city he played. At age twenty-three he opened at the Palace in London and played with Sarah Bernhardt at Buckingham Palace. He starred at the Folies-Bergere (young Charles Chaplin and Maurice Chevalier were on the program).
W.C. Fields is a born leader, with extra-ordinary drive and determination. Insisting on his right to make up his own mind, he demands freedom of thought and action, and does not let anything or anyone stand in his way once he is committed to his goal. Always seeking the forefront and the limelight, William needs to feel in command of important undertakings, and resists supportive roles. He can become irritated and even domineering when important things do not go his way. Fields can be impatient with his shortcomings and those of others. W.C. Fields is very concerned with his status and fosters the appearance of success and self-satisfaction. Interestingly, that very same need to appear well-off can be the fuel that propels William to strive for growth, success and the finer things of life. W.C. Fields assumes the responsibility to be the protector and provider for those he loves, but demands their respect and attention in return. Exceptionally creative and original, William possesses a touch of the unusual. His approach to problems is unique and he has the courage to wander from the traditional templates of thoughts and deeds. W.C. Fields is full of energy, always on the go, fidgety, and quite hyperactive. Life is in a constant motion for him and he devours it powerfully. He has great ability to put thoughts into action, and there is no wait once he sets his mind on something. Where others tend to think or dream, William already takes action while radiating energy, enthusiasm, and livelihood around. His physical stamina is strong, and he loves mental and physical exercise. W.C. Fields keep himself physically or mentally busy at all times, and he feels better spending time outdoors and eating natural foods. Limited space is a major challenge for William, while exercise, proper diet, and rest are critical for his health. A good walk in the fresh air serves as an intellectual vehicle for him.